You Cannot Pledge Your Idaho Workers’ Compensation Claim as Collateral

By Fred J. Lewis

For many years, Oasis Legal Financial or other similar legal funding companies have provided cash to injured workers who needed money prior to the settlement of their case. These were contingent loans that were not required to be paid back if the Idaho Workers’ Compensation claimant was unsuccessful with their Idaho Workers’ Compensation claim. However, since the Industrial Commission’s decision of January 13, 2012, Oasis and other legal lending services no longer loan money to Idaho Workers’ Compensation claimants.

In its decision, the Idaho Industrial Commission found that Oasis purchase agreements amount to illegal assignments of workers’ compensation benefits, which is prohibited under Idaho Code Section 72-802. In the fall of 2010, the Commission became concerned about the propriety of the Oasis purchase agreements. The Commission ordered an order to show cause hearing to determine the enforceability of the contracts on three different cases based on their own motion. One of my clients had money loaned to him by Oasis. Since the Commission decided that the purchase agreements were unenforceable, the Commission ordered that my client and others with Oasis loans only had to pay back the principal amount that had been loaned to them instead of annual interest that, in some cases, exceeded 120%.

The unfortunate downside of this decision is that claimants are now more susceptible to being starved out by Idaho Workers’ Compensation companies since they may be in such a financial bind that they have to settle their cases prior to them becoming ripe for settlement and at their maximum value. This development in Idaho Workers’ Compensation Law has required that Idaho Workers’ Compensation cases move even faster by having the appropriate experts retained, their reports prepared in a timely manner, and the demands quickly made. These pressures require you to hire an experienced Idaho Workers’ Compensation attorney who has the resources to bring your case together as quickly as possible.


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